common names of fishes

Karsten Hartel hartel at MCZ.HARVARD.EDU
Mon Jun 5 12:11:46 CDT 1995

As pointed out earlier, the common names of fishes can be very confusing
especially if a non-ichthyologist is trying to guess at relationships.
Bass, perch, chubs are common examples that have many uses that cross
family and order.

for North Americans I would point out that the "standard" reference is:

Robins et al. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United
States and Canada. 5th Ed. Special Publication American Fisheries Society
No. 20. 183pp.  However, even with this work which has been revised very
10 years, one can find problems and phylogentic relationships may not be
accurately reflected (see review by Leis and Paxton, Copeia 1993(1):245-
248.  But its a highly followed starting point.

Another work that attempts to standardize common names of a wider range of
fishes is:

Robins et al. 1991. World fishes important to North Americans. Special
Publication American Fisheries Society No. 21. 243p.  This work covers
"important" fishes (aquarium, food, bait, aquaculture, endangered and
threatened, poisonous, etc.) to North America.  It has a section
on the "Principles governing selection of common names."  Again, there may
be some differences in placement at higher levels but this well indexed
volume is useful at an entry level.

Karsten E. Hartel
  Curatorial Associate, Fishes
  hartel at

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